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Capture and Direct Runoff with a Dry Stream

Sometimes there are areas in a yard that seem to collect all the runoff rain, eroding the lawn and creating a soggy eyesore. Instead of giving up and letting this mushy space hinder the beauty of your landscape, use it to your advantage and create a dry stream.

dry stream bed

Dry stream beds, or dry creek beds, not only look like stunning, stone hardscape designs swirling through the yard, but they also reduce topsoil erosion and help correct drainage problems, because they capture and redirect water runoff during the rainy season. Here are a few tips on how to create a beautiful dry stream of your own:

• When planning a dry streambed, remember that it should flow, twist, turn and meander throughout your yard like a real stream would. This allows for a gorgeous and natural appearance.
• Once you have the stream’s path plotted, when digging try a 2:1 ratio. For example, if you want your width to be around 2 feet, make the path 1 foot deep. Make sure that the edges are sloped at an angle.
• Line the entire trail with landscape fabric, pinning it in place with fabric pins. This will help prevent weeds from growing in the crevices of the gravel and rocks of the dry stream.
• Cover the path with pea gravel, and then lay bigger stones along the sloped sides of the stream. Use various shapes, textures and sizes of stone, creating a stunning design while avoiding any pattern to give it a more natural look. Most importantly, be creative and let your inner designer shine. Why not try adding stepping stones, boulders and/or a bridge for further aesthetic interest? Also add stunning plants along the banks of the dry river for more natural charm.

Dry stream beds are not only efficient landscaping elements that help control soil erosion and runoff, but they also enhance the aesthetics of our landscapes.

Image: William Moore Farms
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